By Hailey Huffman Tuesday, June 23 at the Rockford American Legion the 57th pantry was held for Operation Cornucopia. Operation Cornucopia works in cooperation with the Feeding America Program at the West Michigan Food Bank. Feeding America is a nationwide network that provides food to people across America and has been the first responder to hunger crisis in America for the last 35 years. The idea behind food banking was developed by John van Hegel of Phoenix, Arizona in the 1960’s. Van Hegel met a mother who had been digging through a trash bin to find food for her children, when she suggested that a place be developed for discarded food to be stored for pick up by families in need. Volunteers from Merritt Lamb Post 102, boy scouts from troops 228, 282, and 283, along with local volunteers and the Rockford Masonic Lodge come together on the last Tuesday of every month to help bag and box food to give to people in need. Clyde Sinclair, commander of Merritt Lamb Post 102 and operation organizer, says on average per month they give away 7,500 pounds of food, which can feed approximately 130 families. Since the beginning of the program in November of 2009, volunteers and businesses among the community have donated around 460,000 pounds of food, an estimated total of $998,200.00 worth of groceries on the table. Members of the Post are quick to agree that it would not have been possible without the help of local community members. Funding and supplies for the pantries not only comes from member donations but from local businesses and civic organizations. Upcoming 2015 event dates include July 28, August 25, September 22, October 27, November 24 and December 22. If you would like to volunteer, please feel free to contact the Merritt Lamb Post at (616) 866-2001.
On Saturday June 2, the Second Annual Chili Cook-off to benefit the American Legion, Wounded Warrior Project and Pets for Vets was held outside the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids. The Chili Cook-off team of “The Two Bad Dads” took home three awards. Bill McDaniel and Tom Troyanowski won “Best Booth,” first place, in traditional red chili and the “People’s Choice” award.
The thunder heard in Rockford Saturday morning was the sound of over 190 classic cars assembling for the American Legion’s second annual Classic Car Show. More than $5000 was raised and will be divided between The Wounded Warrior Program, Pets For Vets and local Legion programs. Visitors taking a break from looking at cars climbed a 30 foot rock wall provided by the U.S. Army, played games, enjoyed the smell of chili being prepared for the cook-off contest, ate a delicious meal in the Post lounge or just relaxed while listening to great music. Excitement ran high as the results of the Chili Cook-off and Car Show were announced. After tasting and sometimes re-tasting all the chili entries, the judges awarded first prize to Marty Crane of Belmont, with her “Make a Man Outa You” chili. Brothers Rick and Jeremy Siegel, otherwise known as “Fat Kid Chili,” received the People’s Choice Award. With so many fine cars assembled, judging was a most difficult task. In the end, car show participants judged the 1933 Ford, three window coupe “Hi Boy” owned by Jim Grzeszak as Best in Show. People’s Choice Award went to Buck Jones of Rockford for his 1955 Chevy Bel Air, restored to factory specs by Buck himself. The Commander’s Trophy was awarded to Jim Bienick of Grand Rapids, for his 1932 Ford Three Window Coupe. “It was a perfect day and a perfect show” said Clyde Sinclair, Commander of the Post. “We owe so much to the participants who made this event such a stunning success. The car owners, Chili Cook-off participants, the Courtland and Sparta Fire Departments, the U.S. Army, our sponsors and the volunteers. Thanks to everyone who participated, it is possible for us to provide much needed funds for our disabled veterans.” Commander Sinclair went on to say, “I need to give a special thank you to Dr. Lori Vorpi of Vorpi Chiropractic and her staff. We couldn’t have done it without them, they are fantastic.”